As I began writing this post I was sitting in the San Antonio Airport watching the Big 12 Championship between Texas and Oklahoma. As a Kansas State fan, won’t lie it was a hard game to watch. Yet, all these championship and college bowl football games mark the start of basketball season!
I’ve got a long connection with basketball. Starting from playing pick-up games as a kid while living in Puerto Rico. I was then a coach my second year of teaching and deeply valued that opportunity.
As a coach and now an avid spectator, I’m always tracking rebounds. I consider it one of those key stats that demonstrate evidence of tenacity by the players and team. Successful rebounding is all about presence and awareness on the court.
Sure points are important, but sometimes it’s possible to play the better game and still “lose”. Evidence of the better game is the scrappiness displayed when players get on the floor for a ball, jump higher for the ball, turning a miss into an unexpected opportunity. It’s exciting, makes the fans go wild and can create momentum for the next big play.
Tenacity in the classroom is embodied by grit and determination. How do you have students display it? How does it show up in your facilitation of learning?
I was thinking about this as Annelle and I watched the K-State Women’s basketball game this past weekend. What are my tenacity stats in and outside the classroom? Two thoughts came to mind:
In the Classroom
- Asking Right Questions vs. Giving Right Answers: It seems easier to just “tell” the student the answer to their question, right? I mean there is only a limited amount of time in the hour so let’s get on with it. Yet, what if I was present enough in the moment to ask the right questions that would engage the student in ownership of their own learning? Harder…yes. Requiring greater levels of mental grit and endurance…you bet. Yet, the payoffs for student learning can be tremendous. Especially, if we make it a consistent habit. Honing our mental muscles to respond to student questions with our own questions that can guide deeper student understanding, resulting in greater understanding.
Outside the Classroom
- Planning Two Weeks in Advance: This year I have been applying several habits from the book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Habit 3 ‘Putting First Things First’ really spoke to me and I’ve been keeping a priority planner which includes spending Sunday afternoon planning for not the immediate week ahead, but the week following. This has been a difficult mindset shift, but has helped me increase my personal effectiveness both personally and professionally.
We can start helping students build their personal tenacity and grit only by modeling it ourselves and experiencing struggle. If we are living and teaching with tenacity, it will allow us to relate with empathy towards the struggles that our students are facing in learning a new concept and give us insight into why some students would rather just give up. Let’s be honest it is the easier option and often the safer option. These classroom moments can become powerful coaching opportunities, to help guide students through those emotions and successfully overcome the struggle.
Again living and teaching with tenacity is crucial. So, what are your tenacity stats?
Writer Note: Huge thanks to Roger Davis for creating the beautiful graphic for this post! I’m excited to partner with him on future blog post graphics! You can follow him on Twitter via @rwdavis_edu. Have a wonderful rest of your weekend!